Is going viral valuable?

Source: Miguel Á. Padriñán viaPexels

According to Susan G. Komen, it is estimated that over 266 thousand women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. in 2018, and this doesn’t include the number of men that were also diagnosed. With figures like this, it is likely that we all know at least one person that has been affected by this disease. If they were lucky and caught it early, like my aunt, they can consider themselves one of the 3.5 million survivors that are currently found in the U.S. 

Every October we start to see an increased number of posts on social media that remind us that it is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Some of these posts ensure that the purpose of the post is clear and there is a call to action associated with the post. 

Other posts are a little more discreet….

These more discreet posts have been spread through Facebook messages and they were very successful at getting users to participate in a fun way that made them feel good about sharing the message about breast cancer awareness.

But did these posts really have an impact on raising awareness? 

Sure, women were reminded about the disease and the importance of doing self-checks, but did it really encourage them to do this regularly? And what about the men that are diagnosed with breast cancer? These messages were sent strictly to women with the purpose of the statuses being confusing to men. It is just important for men to be reminded about the disease as it is women. 

Organizations looking to make more of an impact on raising awareness and funds to help find a cure for breast cancer could take some tips from one of these Top 5 viral campaigns.  

  • Movember
    • Founded in 2003 and has since generated over $700 million to fund 1,200 men’s health projects. 
  • No Makeup Selfie
    • Raised £1 million for Cancer Research UK within 24 hours. 
  • Human Rights Campaign
    • Received over 3 million shares on Facebook after changing their logo to support marriage equality. 
  • Batkid
    • Generated almost 600,000 tweets and 1.7 billion social impressions which drove 1,000 visits per second to the Make-A-Wish website. 
  • Love Has No Labels 
    • Drove more than 2.7 million visits to the Ad Councils campaign site and saw over 30,000 uses of the #lovehasnolabels hashtag. 

The difference between these campaigns and the breast cancer awareness campaigns that pop up in October is these campaigns encourage people to act with more than sharing a vague Facebook post. 

It is important for an organization that is trying to create a viral charity campaign to remember that they need to make their cause last. 

Once something gets picked up, it builds momentum until it reaches a tipping point… then it drops off.

Sander van der Linden

It is necessary for a successful viral campaign to not “drop off.” The organization needs to keep it relevant and ensure that people are reminded about it often. Organizations can even tie their message to real-life mobilization efforts that can include volunteering, donating money, signing a petition, or writing a letter. 

The more action-oriented the message, the more it will help to transform your audience into more interested, knowledgeable, and vested advocates for your cause. 


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